Do Not Do List

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Do not doWhen I was growing up, I suffered from an inferiority complex where I always felt like I wasn’t good at anything.   This stemmed from the fact that I grew up in an environment where academic results were a key indicator of your love and appreciation.   I was told day in and day out that I was not smart and would never amount to anything, that the family convenience store would be my future because I wasn’t capable of greater accomplishment.

When people tell you something so many times, at some point it will be like a fact or reality to you, because it was repeated so much and programmed in to your sub conscious mind.   You start to behave and act the way that reinforces what was expected of you.   During that time, everything seemed normal, but the daily struggle of coping and feeling worthless continued to dominate my daily life.   I often questioned why I bothered going to school when my outcome was already confirmed. Why suffer and take those exams to then yield the same result?

Looking back, I would say that I didn’t know better.   I was not equipped to discern that I could influence the outcome. In my junior year in high school I turned things around and started believing in myself.   My teacher encouraged me and gave me the nudged to prove that I could accomplish more.   It is by no means that I figured out that I was smart, because I’m still not to this date. However I realized that I can do more than what I was programmed to believe in.

Back then, I started a proving-myself list. It is similar to a do-not-do list in that I list the names of people who doubted me and aim to prove that I can get it done. Each time I prove to someone that I got the job done I will cross out that name.   It took a while to see results, but I was patient and focused.   It is my laser-sharp focus and consistent results that helped me get to where I am in my career.

Over the last twelve months, I’ve focused on my do-not-do list. You might ask: what is a do-not-do list? A do-not-do list is a list of things that you’re currently doing or behaviors that you’re currently exhibiting that are holding you back. It is causing you to get stuck, thus failing to reach your full potential.   By raising your awareness and proactively stopping those actions and behaviors, you’ll slowly move in the right direction and achieve your dream.

So, what’s on my list?   I’m sharing a piece of myself—this is tough one.   The top two items are self-limiting belief and procrastination.   What do I mean by self-limiting belief? My lack of confidence in myself often affects my ability to try new things and pursue new opportunities.   When a new opportunity arises, I often talk myself out of trying or putting my name in. Not sure why, but since I’m aware of this behavior, I in turn challenge myself as to why. It is a difficult challenge to build up one’s confidence, but through baby steps and continuous progress it can be achieved, but it’s difficult to make the behavior go away.   The second one is procrastination.   Many times I will say to myself that I will do it tomorrow, even when I planned to do the task today. There is always tomorrow, isn’t there?   Then tomorrow comes and I get really busy; I’ll do it again tomorrow.   I’ve committed to blogging once a week. Since April, I’ve completed 22 weeks to date, an amazing accomplishment in my mind, but along the way, I almost missed making the weekly post twice.

I’ve taught the do-not-do list to many people at work. To date, many of the folks who attended my class shared with me their perspective and progress.   They said that it made them realized that they have something to work on and understand why they were stuck to begin with.   Awareness it the gift of making this list; once you’re aware of it, you can decide to work on it. I’m proud to say that many of them are doing something about it.

As you read this post, what would be on your do-not-do list? How will that list shape your future? I’d like to hear your perspective.   Writing is a labor of love, if you like my post, share it with others. If you disagree, share me your perspective.

Big Rocks!

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free-bible-studies-online-the-big-rocksEach day we wake up in the morning to go about our life.   The decisions we make invariably will contribute to the outcome of the day.   We go through the day and do things we thought were important to get done for that day.   Hopefully as the day progresses, you’re making progress and able to check things off.

The reality of life is that things are bound to change.   An urgent incoming call can alter your day—unexpected calls from school to name a few. Before you know it you’re doing things that were not on your list when you started your day.   A mad rush to get things done that are not on your list and lo and behold the day is over. The list that you started the day with is what you have at the end of the day. Does that sound familiar? Yes, I felt that way in the recent past.

Many people demand our time.   Unless we know our priorities, we can get sucked into other people’s demand of our time. The more we offer, the more people take more of our time. In this world, there are givers that give all the time and takers that do nothing but take from everyone around them.   I’ve fallen victim to people demanding my time and I end up working on things that do not add any value or help me achieve my goal.

Until one day, I decided enough is enough.   I need to do things that contribute to my big rocks. The big rocks are things that matter to me the most, like my family, my dream, my aspiration and passion.   The day I put my foot down is the day I felt I’ve made progress with my life. By no means have I turned the corner and become fully independent, but I do say “NO” when I have to.

So, how did I do it? I start my day by imagining my dream.   As my mentor Paul Martinelli says, “Hold your image.”  I hold the image of my dream and let that set for a moment. Let it inspire me to be more aware of what I do and the decisions I make. Understand that each decision made either brings me closer to my dream or pushes me back a step or two. Bring my big rocks front end center, this way I am conscious about it.   Believe me it did not happen overnight. It took days, weeks, and months, until I mustered the courage to say “NO” to people. At times, no is not the answer, but rather disrupting you now, when later can I do the work for others.

It took a lot of time to get to where I need to be, but I feel that the progress made has made me more conscious of the choices I made and how I can influence my progress to get to where I need to be.

Big rocks…remember your big rocks. Hold that image each day and make it stick.   Be conscious of your decisions and make sure that you are working toward achieving your dream.   If you are aware of your priorities, it makes making decision easier.

Are you ready to focus on your big rocks? What would you do differently tomorrow? How can I challenge you to take your first step?

Falling back in my old ways

Will with John

Many times in my life I would attend trainings and feel so energized by what I learned couldn’t wait to apply the new things I learned. Very eager to make the most of the new things that I learned to the point that I spent quite some time plotting how to use it and how I could pass what I learn along to the folks on my team.

All goes well for the first week, gaining momentum on the second week, by the third week it looks like I’ll be on track and keep this new experience going for a while. Then it gets really busy at work, challenges come up, wanting to spend more time with my family—before you know it, I’m back in my old ways. Falling off the saddle due to work demand, pressure and other people’s demand of my time. It happens gradually to the point that I don’t even notice that it is happening. The transformation is unwound and you’re back to where you started. Sometime you don’t even realize it until a lot of time goes by.

Last year, in my quest for continuous improvement, I discover John Maxwell Certification. I’ve been a fan of John Maxwell for over 12 years. I’ve read numerous of his books and I thought that this would be the ideal next step. I inquired about the program only to realize that the cost was a bit out of my reach. While I was really eager to move onto the next step, my financial situation did not allow me to incur the cost needed to be part of it. I had to make a conscious decision to save and try again next time. By April of 2013, I was ready and joined on April 12. It is a very important date for me, as I took the first step to improve myself further than I expected on the leadership journey to the next level. Joining JMT meant I will be doing a lot more teaching, which I found to be my passion. I’ve since done numerous mastermind groups and enjoyed them tremendously.
The August certification event is one that I will remember for a long time. I had the opportunity to meet my favorite author John Maxwell and the other instructors. It was a great weekend to have learned from Paul Martinelli, Scott Fay, Melissa West, Ed DeCosta, Christian Simpson, Roddy Galbriath, John Maxwell, Nick Vujicic and Les Brown. We ended the last day with John Maxwell, Nick Vujicic and Les Brown in our line up. I learned a lot from the three-day live event and met a couple of great friends along the way.

Over the next six weeks, I stayed on course and did my masterminds and participated in our accountability partners calls. But then things became complicated as I tried to balance work, life and my passion for teaching. Before I knew it I fell back to my old self because my JOB took all my time. Once I recognized that I was slipping, I started to pick myself up. While it is still challenging, I’m refusing to fall back in my old ways. I’m not saying that the Will prior to JMT Live was bad (I have a good career), but rather with my JMT experience, I came away feeling great about what I learned, the people I met and friends made at JMT. I’m getting back on the saddle and riding this horse until I achieve my goal.

As I reflect on my situation. I acknowledge that my journey is not a straight line. It has its ups and downs and many sharp curves in between. It could be filled with joy or laughter or negative emotions, but I’ll remember that the journey is mine. Mine to enjoy – Mine to decide which way to go at every junction – Mine to live the best way I want. I’ll take all the downs and match it with the good times, and I’ll have faith and keep on moving forward. I hope to launch another 21 Irrefutable Mastermind as well as hoping I can gain some momentum with my Sometimes You Win Sometimes You Learn Mastermind. For now, I’ll focus my attention on my longer term goal and keep on taking one step at a time toward achieving my goal.

A journey to remember

Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, CLDC

Believing in my team

In the fall of 2012, my nine year old daughter decided that she wants to join St. Elizabeth 4th grade girls basketball team.    I recognized that this would give me an opportunity to be part of her activity so I volunteered as an assistant coach.

A few weeks before the season started, I received a phone call from the commissioner of our school that our team did not have a coach.   He suggested that I think about volunteering as the head coach.   I was not sure I was up for the challenge.   I spoke to my daughter and asked her if she really wanted to play basketball.   My thought process was, if I can convince her not to join, then I’m off the hook.  But she insisted that she wanted to play and urged me to coach the team.    That night I pondered on the responsibility as a head coach and its demand.   As it is, my work demand is high, but then I still want to be part of my daughter’s activity.     In my mind, I did not want to miss out on the opportunity.

During the next two weeks, I worked on my schedule and tried to move things around so I could be available.  I gave the commissioner a call and informed him of my decision to coach my daughter’s team.    That night I was left wondering if I have what it takes to coach the 4th grade girls basketball team.   I used to play basketball, but the last time I played was about 15 years ago.   The last time I coached a team was back when I was a senior in high school coaching the freshman team.

Over the next few weeks, I prepared for the upcoming season by reading books, practicing and watching videos.   I realized that I was putting in a lot of time and effort.   As always, I never do things halfway.  If I decide to do something, I often put in 100% effort and try my best.  That’s how my father taught me growing up.  You need to always try your best.  The outcome might not be what you expected, but as long as you tried your very best and put in your best effort, that was good enough for him.   It is the same values that I passed along to my daughters.   A great addition to my team was the daughter of my former co-worker, who offered to help me coach my team.

I was anxious about our first practice.   I started the session by asking the girls why they wanted to play basketball.   Each of them gave me their reason and I gave them my objective for coaching the team.   My focus for the practice was learning the fundamentals, teamwork, sportsmanship, trusting one another and having fun playing the game.

Our first game was against St. Anthony.  When we walked in the gym, I was surprised to see the girls on the other team were a lot taller than the girls on my team.    I kept my composure and focused on our game.  I knew, if we played our game and focused our defense, we had a chance to win the game.  The first game went really well and we won the game.   We also taught the girls sportsmanship by stopping from scoring once our lead was over a dozen points.  It was a hard concept for them to understand, but in the end they understood why it is important for us to respect our opponent.

Over the next few games, the team learned to work through adversity and won a couple of close games.   Before we knew it, we had won five games in a row.    Some folks approached me and congratulated me for a job well done, but I kept on saying that it was the team that did all the work.  I often attributed our success to the team’s commitment to teamwork.    I also found out that there were some reservations that this team might not do well this season.    From my perspective, there was no doubt that my team was capable of winning games, because of their commitment to learn and work hard at all times.

We closed the season with a loss, but that loss taught us a valuable lesson, that we need to play the entire game and we cannot just show up the second half.  We lost by a point.  I told the team that I was proud of them for coming out and playing well the second half.     The team remained hungry and eager to prove themselves.

We won our semi-final game and went on to play in the championship.   In the championship game, we faced the same team that we played three close games during the season.   We won all three games, but I emphasized to my team that we could not take them lightly.  Before the start of the game, I told the girls that I was so proud of them for working hard all year and they should enjoy this game.   I told them that I believed in them and that we needed to leave everything on the court and be aggressive. I stressed that we needed to come out strong and played our game.   We led the first half, but then they came back and led by 4 points with less than 3 minutes to go.   We were out of sync.   I called a couple of timeouts and during each one of the timeouts I told them that I believed in them that we could come back from the deficit.    I reiterated that I believed in them and did they believe in themselves.   They responded “YES.”  We proceeded to score a three-point play, then another basket that gave us the lead.    We won the game by a point.   The girls were so happy and everyone came running onto the court.

I was so happy for the girls.  They played hard and came back to win the game.   This win demonstrated that with hard work, dedication and commitment we can overcome all obstacles.   I told them that I’m really proud of them.     During the awarding ceremony, I thanked the host of the event, our opponent, AOL, who played four great games, the parents for their commitment, my assistant coaches for their contributions, and my players for working hard all season.   We completed a magical season in which we compiled an 11-1 record.

Here is my lesson learned:

  • Be patient – Patience is the most important virtue.   By stepping back and learning to listen to them, I was able to help them learn the fundamentals of basketball and enjoy it in the process.
  • Believe in them – I never doubted my team’s capabilities.  From day one, I knew that with proper coaching and support my team’s capability was unlimited.    I saw the joy in their eyes whenever they came to practice and played the game.
  • Work hard – There were days in which I felt like I was working two jobs.  I put in 100% at work then came home and worked on the lessons and plays for my team.
  • Never give up – My personal approach applies to my team.  I never gave up on them and continued to encourage them to try their best until the time runs out.  This resulted in winning 6 close games, five of which we came from behind to win.   Affirming that I believed in them was the first step in accomplishing our goal.
  • Keeping my composure – Throughout the season I kept my composure and never showed that I was worried.   I kept on encouraging my team to work through it and never waver.
  • Apply effective feedback – Whenever they made a mistake, I often encouraged them to reset and forget the mistake and focus on the next play or shot.    When a player was not playing well, I provided encouragement and engaged them in a one-on-one dialogue.

I’m truly thankful for the coaching opportunity.  I’m so glad that I took this opportunity.  I spent time with my daughter and formed a bond and shared an experience that we will share for a lifetime.    I will always remember this experience.    It reinforced my belief that I always have to seize the moment and make the most of the opportunity.   Go Crusaders!

 

 

 

Year In Review – Explore …Dream…Discover

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I’m starting my post by reflecting on Mark Twain quotes, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore. Dream. Discover.”     Just like most folks, at times I do feel the comfort of the current state and am hesitant to test the water.   Why risk it?  Why make a move and end up at the bottom of the pool?  Why change things at work?  Too many questions, but I don’t have any answers, as I have not put much thought into it.

To summarize my year, it has been a great year for me because of the following reasons:

  • Participated in the St. Elizabeth Men’s Cornerstone program – for years, I hesitated attending this retreat, but in the end I’m glad I did because I have a profound sense of appreciation for what I have and gained 18 good friends along the way.
  • Promotion at work – after years of waiting for my turn, I never waver and continue to work hard. I evolved by learning new skills and doing my very best at all times.  I never give up and believe in chasing my dream and making it happen.  It helps that I stayed positive during the numerous years of not getting my promotions.  All throughout this journey, I continued to put my people ahead of my personal agenda and make sure that I show my appreciation for their commitment and contributions.   It is my belief that people are the most important assets.
  • Participated as an assistant coach for my daughter’s recreational soccer team – soccer is not my best sport, but I figured that I’m a quick learner.  I enjoyed being there for my daughter and helping out the coach.  I truly enjoyed this experience and bonded with my daughter.
  • Caddied for my daughter’s golf lesson and tournaments – I value the time I spent with my daughter and the test of my patience.   We’ve spent a lot of hours playing together that made me look forward to next season with much enthusiasm.    The highlight was when she played at the Twin Willow shootout and placed second.  I’m so proud of her.  I’ll forever remember this experience.
  • The-Character-Based-LeaderBook launch of the Lead Change Book project on Character-Based Leader – writing a book has been on my checklist for many years.  I’m honored to work with 20 other authors that I never met until the book was launched.  This is pure collaboration using social media to its full extent.  We met through Twitter and collaborated until we completed this book.   The icing on the cake was when I met Tara at the Danbury book signing.   What an experience!  A true test of pushing the limit and working outside of my comfort zone.
  • Presenting the Recipe to the 2012 Year Up at UBS – I prepared this material in the middle of the year and was excited to share it with folks who are starting their careers and learning the ropes.  The goal of the presentation was to impart knowledge on what it takes to be successful.
  • Hosted a picnic for my group – I believe that, as a leader of my group, I’m serving my people first and making sure that I show them my appreciation for their hard work and commitment.   I took over a new group in June and was given the challenging tasks of building out a new platform while continuing to roll out the existing application. By helping the team to focus on our goals, we were able to complete our initial deliverables and then build out the new platform.  It is an amazing accomplishment considering we were behind the eight ball by 5 months.  The picnic was the highlight that people on my team still talk about to this date.
  • Learning a lot about myself – Hurricane Sandy tested my ability to help the firm recover its critical infrastructure.  I worked through adversity and led the team through our recovery and restoration efforts.    With 9 days of no electricity and working through almost 30 hours and, all in all, two weeks of continued work,  I learned that I’m capable to lead in tough situations when called upon.
  • Coaching my daughter’s basketball team – being an assistant coach is one thing, but coaching is taking the challenge to the next level.    I look at this opportunity to teach the girls leadership and teamwork.  At the same time, I’m there for my daughter and making the most of my opportunity to be part of her activities.   Like anything that I get myself involved in, I do it 100% as I spend time planning, reviewing and organizing sessions.  So far we have a great season and the girls are having fun learning how to play basketball.
  • Celebrated three years of blogging – this is an important milestone in my aspiration to spread the word and share my knowledge and experiences.   This is one of the most important missions I have—to help raise awareness on issues or challenges that people are encountering.

By all standards, this is one of the best years I ever had.   As I look back to the year that went by so fast, I feel blessed that I created a plan and tracked my progress throughout the year.   The lesson that I want to impart to everyone is that you need to create a plan.  Because without a plan, you’ll be working on other people’s plans.   Without a plan, it is like walking blindfolded as you go down the stairs.  Please start your year by creating a plan, then track your progress.   I urge you to dream, explore and discover new things and challenge yourself.

As I look forward to next year, I challenge myself to think about Mark Twain’s quote as I start updating my plan.   I want to make sure I challenge myself and avoid playing the what-if scenario.   In the next two weeks, I’ll be reviewing my plan and plotting my next steps.   Mark Twain’s quote will be a constant reminder not to play it safe.    As your take away, I hope you’ll prepare your plan and track your progress throughout the year.    I encourage you to share your story and let me know how I can be of help.  Best wishes to you on the coming year.

A journey that created the Character-Based Leader book

Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, CLDC

In 2009 I was exploring the social media out of curiosity.   It is also the same time I decided to embark on blogging.    I joined Twitter to share my knowledge and experiences as a way of giving back or paying forward.    But I was not sure what to expect.    I wondered what the power of a 140 characters message was and how this thing called Twitter could aid in spreading my message.   As I tweeted messages each day, I would see other messages that I liked and I would find myself following those people that share the same passion for leadership, coaching, mentoring and customer service.  Also, I gained followers and connected with people.

Mike Henry Sr. is a person that opened the door for me.  I connected with him and before you know it we were talking about a possible meeting of the group of people that form lead change.  The focus of the team is authentic leadership.   We all shared a common belief that we need to instigate a leadership revolution that focuses on values, honesty and integrity.    It is evident that we need this as evidenced by the leadership of various companies that failed to lead their companies and caused the economy to unravel.

 

The book was a byproduct of 21 people who came together with a common goal of writing a book and sharing our experience, knowledge and expertise to instigating a leadership revolution.    The group consists of people from three countries, namely: Canada, Mexico and the U.S.    Ten of the members met at a conference in 2010; the rest communicated via conference call and started to collaborate on how to proceed with this project.   On the week of September 24th, the Character-Based Leader book launches.  For more information about the launch, please visit Lead Change or buy the book from Amazon.

The above map shows the locations of all the co-authors who participated in writing the book.   What is amazing about this journey is we did all of the work with few face-to-face interactions.    It goes to show that if a group of people wants to share the world and help change the way we lead as leaders, we can overcome any obstacle and get the job done.  Help us shape the future by instigating a leadership revolution.

 

Collaboration as a career strategy

By Steve Broe

Stay connected. The people in your world can make a difference as you seek an intentional career transition. While you should hold people in high regard as individuals, never forget that your network represents a form of interpersonal capital. The connected links between friends, colleagues and decision-makers can help you launch a business or find a better job.

 

Now choose an attitude. Are you going to collaborate or compete with the people that you know? The collaborator strengthens the people in his or her network, leaving a positive impression that resonates among extended connections. Collaborators can simply go farther by leveraging the talents of their network.

 

One attitude embraces the power of the team; the other promotes the rugged individualist.  The competitive career transitioner seeks to be a hero in the game of life. The collaborator earns less specific acclaim, yet ends up at the finish line regularly with other achievers.

 

Collaboration creates synergy. Synergy is a condition of enhanced productivity. The participants on a project encourage higher performance, typically be focusing on personal areas of strength. When collaborating, members notice each other’s work, pay attention to it, and appreciate the contributions.  Synergy creates a condition where all players raise their performance energy.

 

The competitive career strategy is one of admirable self-reliance. Many organizations, especially sales-oriented organizations, encourage competitive work. The top sales professional is a hard-working superstar, and often very competitive.

 

Collaborative sales work is also a success strategy. Decisions that depend on long-term sales relationships, or complex decisions, are enhanced with collaborative work practices. Teams of colleagues, all supporting the same goal, can serve a business sales’ efforts, especially if long term, sustained, performance is important.

 

The collaborative choice helps one keep going, even when one is not feeling up. A network of colleagues can provide the inspiration or resources to get over a hump. Collaboration creates a community, and serving the community gives a person an extra reason to meet goals. Try collaboration with people you can trust, or can learn to trust.

 

For more information about Steve, please visit his websites http://blog.mycareerimpact.com and www.stevebroe.com.